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EU Bilateral Trade

Volume 670: debated on Thursday 23 January 2020

5. What assessment her Department has made of the effect of the end of freedom of movement in the UK on bilateral trade with the EU in goods and services. (900351)

12. What assessment her Department has made of the effect of the end of freedom of movement in the UK on bilateral trade with the EU in goods and services. (900359)

Leaving the European Union frees the United Kingdom to introduce a fairer immigration system. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said at the UK-Africa investment summit this week that

“our system is becoming fairer and more equal as between all our global friends and partners. Treating people the same regardless, wherever they come from and by putting people before passports, we will be able to attract the best talent from around the world, wherever they may be.”

We will also be able to reach out and strike new global trade agreements to the benefit of all our constituents and UK consumers.

I thank the Minister for that answer. The President of the EU Commission said:

“Without the free movement of people,”

the UK cannot expect to

“have the free movement of capital, goods and services”.

Is it not true that taking control of our borders comes with not only an unacceptable human cost, but a very serious economic one?

I am sorry, but not surprised, that the SNP cannot see that there is talent beyond the shores of the European Union. Freedom of movement was discussed at length during the referendum. We on the Government Benches believe in respecting the results of referendums, including the one in Scotland.

Scottish Financial Enterprise told the Scottish Affairs Committee that the success of Scotland’s financial industry was based on its ability to access and service all customers in the European Union. Does that not once again highlight the vital importance of freedom of movement to Scotland and show that the UK Government simply do not care about Scotland’s interests or, indeed, Scotland’s votes?

It shows the reverse. As the Government reach out to negotiate new comprehensive free trade agreements around the world, we will negotiate the best deals possible for every nation and every region of the United Kingdom. This Government will always have Scotland’s interests close to their heart.

Is my right hon. Friend as surprised as I am that so many Members of this House do not seem to have read and understood the political declaration on the future relationship? In particular, does he agree that we should expect that the various modes of supply in connection with services will go on around the world and that people will travel to deliver services?

My hon. Friend is right. It is sad that so many in this House, particularly on the Opposition side, including on the SNP Benches, appear stuck in June 2016. We on the Government Benches—[Interruption.] I say to the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Margaret Ferrier) that we are not remotely touchy. While she is stuck in the past, we are focused on the future.